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Pae 238

Early on, you think someone will teach you to write great poems.
You think someone knows how it's done, knows what you
should be writing. You just have to find the right someone –
teacher, poet – the one who knows all about what you
should be writing. It's all known. What have thousands
(or billions?) of years of fancy talking been for
if not to figure out what you should write?
But the page before you is blank.

You think, "I don't need someone to tell me how to write.
I just need to say what I have to say."
You think you must have something to say, because,
after all, you have experience of a rich world
full of Mommy and Daddy and trees and houses
and cars and your first fuck and someone dear
who died and isn't war a nasty thing and your despair
about how all this has already been said –
O, you have so much to say, it's all right here,
but the page is blank.

[How odd, the idea you must have something to say
before you can say something. Saying is an action.
You don't have to have in order to do. Having comes
from doing, not the other way round. Do you have to have
something to hello in order to say hello? Do you have to
have something to walk in order to walk? Or can you
walk a world into existence? Hello a friend into being?]

But at least the world is here, full of itself, full of people
and books and things to see, so you can look at it,
touch it, taste it, share its pungency (sorry about the pun, gents) --
how simple, it's all here for you, blue and green; it keeps
puffing up brand new cloud shapes every day. (Such a
talented world! Like a kindly uncle entertaining us by
blowing smoke rings.) (Is he coughing? What did he
die of years later?) How convenient! The world clearly
has things to say. But the page is blaring blankness.

The horrible truth is (someone is insisting), you have
something to say when you create something to say, and it's
worse than that: First you have to overcome the illusion
that the world is already there, and create a world of your own
in which to say it – and people to say it to who will
understand it and respond. And that's not all – first
you have to create you! (I just created you, but, no,
sorry, that's just a decoy. I leave it to you
to create the real McCoy.)

Note: In the last two lines, the "McCoy/decoy" chime amuses me. This poem is addressed To My Coy Reader to Make Much of Him/Herself.

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